Sunday, August 31, 2008

If You Look Good in Black, You Might Be a....

DN2 thinks I look good in black.
But this might not really be a plus for me.

DN2: You know, Mom, you really are a witch.
Me: Is that right?
DN2: Yeah. You have long fingers and long nails, you have a scary laugh...
Me: What?!?!
DN2: ...and you look good in black.

Well I guess if that is all it takes, I must be a witch.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lesson 1: How to Show Appreciation to a Writer

I saw this article about the Pratchgan on Gawker of all places.
A group of Terry Pratchett fans, headed by this lovely knitter from the UK, along with some friends from Ravelry, created a knitted afghan for writer, Terry Pratchett.
It's for Terry Pratchett, it's an afghan, ergo it's a Pratchgan.

Apparently Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's and this is their way of showing him how much they appreciate him and his work.
I'm sure with or without the Alzheimer's they would have created this work for him.
I've only begun reading my first Pratchett novel, Small Gods, that was gifted to me in the LibrisSwap on Ravelry, so I am not that familiar with him as a writer, but he must be something to inspire such devotion from these readers/knitters.
I have a lot of favorite authors myself, many still living, and I have considered sending them a note to let them know how much I appreciate their work.
But have you seen this afghan?
I would have never thought of this. It's brilliant.
Knitters make great fans.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Julia Child = Mrs. Pollifax

I think everyone is shocked by the news that Julia Child was a spy for the OSS.
My mother said to me, "Well she was a real-life Mrs. Pollifax!"
For those of you unfamiliar with Mrs. Pollifax, a series of books written by Dorothy Gilman, here are some links.
I adore these books and have read them many times.
Mrs. Pollifax is an elderly woman whose children are grown. Living in New Brunswick, New Jersey and feeling almost suicidal with no future direction to her life except taking care of her geraniums, she goes to the CIA and volunteers to be a spy. Because of a mix-up at the agency, they actually send her out on assignment.
Through the years Mrs. Pollifax has been sent on missions all over the world. One of the historical elements of the books is that many were written in the late 1960s and 1970s during the Cold War, so the spy missions Mrs. Pollifax goes on reflect the real-world situation at the time.
The Mrs. Pollifax series was also loved by the great Rosalind Russell, whose final film was Mrs. Pollifax, Spy co-starring Darren McGavin.
It wasn't how I pictured the book, when is it ever, but I adore Roz and think she's a wonderful actress, so I can forgive our Mame.
If you haven't read this series and you have a hurricane, blizzard or other natural disaster approaching your area, get to the library and check them out, but definitely try to read them in order.
Mrs. Pollifax is Zen, and apparently so was Julia Child.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

If You Have Too Much Time On Your Hands... can come over to my house and dust.
There are some people who are truly taking to our charity knitting/crocheting group at work.
I am so overwhelmed I am almost speechless.
Look at some of the beautiful projects people have been making on their own:

More squares, bringing our count to about 200:

This full-sized afghan was made by a woman who just couldn't stop crocheting. Say it with me, "You go, girl!"

These three lap-sized blankets were made by another woman and they are gorgeous. Just right to cover the lap of someone sitting in a wheelchair:

This quilt was made by the mother of one of the women in our group. She is also working on a full-sized afghan. And can you believe she had the nerve to apologize for not having the colors really match in this quilt? Is she nuts? I think so. It's all I can do to not take it home for myself. And wait, get this, she made it from scraps she had sitting around:

Now I just need to get on the stick and contact the agency to whom we are gifting these so it is not a HUGE, yet unexpected, surprise!

Friday, August 15, 2008

This Can't Be Happening!

I know they are only doing it for the money.
And that is what makes it so sad.
You have heard the news, haven't you?
The latest Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, that we have all been waiting for, the one that was supposed to be released in November?
Yes, that one.
Well it won't be released until July 17, 2009.

It's about the money, they say so right here:

"Our reasons for shifting Half-Blood Prince to summer are twofold," Warner Bros. president Alan Horn said Thursday. "We know the summer season is an ideal window for a family tent pole release, as proven by the success of our last Harry Potter film, which is the second-highest grossing film in the franchise, behind only the first installment."

But then they try to play it off that it is really about the writer's strike:

"Like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writers' strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films—changing the competitive landscape for 2009 and offering new windows of opportunity that we wanted to take advantage of."

I have to tell you that I was definitely looking forward to a midnight movie in November.
Guess not.
I feel so betrayed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Quiz - Tealicious

We had an arts and crafts festival in town last weekend.
It was different than previous years, even though a lot of the vendors were the same.
Kashi had this HUGE four booth display with free samples.
Who doesn't love free samples, seriously.
They also had a wine tasting tent.
We went out for a bit on Saturday, but since DN2 and I were going to my cousin's wedding we didn't stay long.
Let me tell you about my cousin.
She is 55 and this is her third marriage.
My aunt (her mother), when I asked how she was feeling, said, "Numb."
Yeah, she doesn't hold out hope that it is going to work.
I do, and let me tell you why.
The guy she married is 64 years old and has never been married.
My cousin is not in the least duplicitous; as a matter of fact she is a sweet woman who barely holds a bad thought in her head. She's even friendly with her first husband who cheated on her (and is now regretting it). As she says, "Kevin made a mistake, that's all he did."
So, if her new husband has lived his entire life without marrying, don't you think he would think long and hard before entering into a relationship? Because this is a life-altering change.
(DH calls it a life-ending change. Oh isn't he a hoot.)
I think it will last.
Anyway, we went back to the festival on Sunday and of course it was raining.
Man did it rain.
Continental School of Beauty also had a tent there and they were fixing hair or giving people eyebrow waxes. I opted for the latter and DN2 opted for the former:

She took it out immediately after these pictures were taken because she complained that it hurt her head.
I tried to get her to realize how expensive a hairstyle like that would be.
She didn't care, and now she has some free bobby pins.
Sorry, no pictures of my eyebrows.
The best tent there, in my opinion, was the Design-a-Tea vendor.
They were new this year, and are very nice people.
You can design your own tea using one of four bases and then add one or two flavorings. Then you can put anything on a label, picture, saying, anything, and gift it. Since they don't have to follow FCC rules, they said, you can really put anything you want on there.
Sounds like it would be great for swaps.
I haven't tried my tea yet, but this is what DH chose:

As he said, coconut and rum, two of my favorite things.

The people were very nice to DN2 and gave her this free sample:

She chose the flavors and is calling it Chanilla.
Yeah, okay.
I took a long, long time deciding and ultimately made this:

I really like fall flavored teas, so I'm anxious to try this Pumpkin Spice. I do not, however, like too much cinnamon. Sometimes it can burn when there is too much and that just ruins the soothing tea experience.
Now I don't know if I actually like Chai Tea or not, because I have never really tried it.
Silly me.

You Are Chai Tea

There are many subtle sides to your personality. You are difficult to decode.
You are a complex and deep individual. You have many nuanced beliefs, and your mood frequently changes.
You are a creative and expressive person. You draw your inspiration from the whole world.
You enjoy exotic food, music, and travel. Your tastes are very international.

What kind of tea do you like best? Or does your choice of a flavor change with the season?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Color of Summer

Summer is green.
Yes, spring is also green with colorful flowers, but summer is the time for glorious green vegetables.

We've lived here long enough for people to start giving us vegies.
Well, except for the corn, I bought that from a roadside stand.
No one was working at the stand, they had just loaded it up with vegetables and placed a locked box on the stand along with a note that read, "Please place money in box."
That's an element we don't see much of anymore.
Since I've already eaten the corn I can tell you that it was FANTASTIC!
I think I could eat corn on the cob everyday.
As long as it is fresh off the stalk that day.
Sweet, summer corn.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Someone is Learning How to Crochet

And not doing a very good job of it.

I think I might rip this out and try it as double crochet instead of single crochet.
And count when I'm doing it, because I think my edges are a bit wonky. It doesn't look as if I am still crocheting the same amount with which I cast on (33).

I'm making a square for our Warm-up America! afghans. Or at least I'm trying to.
But I'm still waiting for the moment when the crochet goes faster than the knitting.
Will that be coming soon?

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Olympics Are On TV?

The thing I hate about this time difference is I never can remember when the Olympics are being shown on television.
DN2 is all into the swimming this year, and also envious of people who were able to see the Olympic qualifiers, so she wants to watch the swimmers compete.
We've been trying to record the segments which have swimming in them and it hasn't been easy.
Imagine my chagrin when I realize that there was swimming on this morning from 2-5:00 and I didn't set the recorder.
I know this is not all about Michael Phelps for DN2, but he is a recognizable swimmer for her as he is on the cover of some of her swim magazines and the girls in the locker room talk about him.
Oh I bet they do.
She has even told me she wants me to cheer her on this year like Michael Phelps' mother does for him.
What a hoot.
Is anyone else having a problem with the way the Olympics are being broadcast?
I read on someone's blog, I can't remember whose, that they were irritated with the frat boy attitude Bob Costas had during the opening ceremonies. He is a bit disingenuous.
I just remember things being so much easier to watch when I was younger, it could be that so many things were in the US time zones, but I especially liked it when ABC was doing the broadcasting with Jim McKay at the mic. He was sincere.
Speaking of sincere, have you been following Bela Karolyi's statements about the Chinese gymnasts?
He is not holding back.
I watched the Chinese team compete last night and I have to say that they do look extremely young. One girl looked like she was about 10. They are superior athletes, but they do look so young and tiny that when they compete on the uneven bars it looks as if they cannot reach from one bar to the other.
But whomever is doing the broadcasting during the gymnastics event was complaining last night about the Romanian gymnasts, saying how things were so much better before and that the gymnasts are not focused. They even referred back to Nadia in 1976. All that was left unsaid, but was alluded to, was that Communist Romania created much better Olympic gymnasts.
Not nice.
On that note I will leave you with a PostSecret postcard from Frank's myspace page:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Personality traits

Oddly enough, this little quiz from Blogthings gave me the same response as the longer Myers-Briggs test.
So perhaps all these quizzes, even if they have only 3-5 questions, really can determine your personality type.
Yeah, I doubt it too, but it's still fun to do.
So here's a quiz that should give you a Myer's Briggs response without having to answer over 70 questions.

You Are An ENFP

The Inspirer
You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends. You are also unconventional, irreverent, and unimpressed by authority and rules. Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives. You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You're quite the storyteller! In love, you are quite the charmer. And you are definitely willing to risk your heart. You often don't follow through with your flirting or professed feelings. And you do break a lot of hearts. At work, you are driven but not a workaholic. You just always seem to enjoy what you do. You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.
How you see yourself: compassionate, unselfish, and understanding
When other people don't get you, they see you as: gushy, emotional, and unfocused

Ah, so I'm inspiring, eh?
You know what else is inspiring? Hearing a banjo in a song. What a happy instrument. Here is one of my favorite songs by The Shins and guess what - there's a banjo!
(Didn't see that segue coming, did you? Smooth I am.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

More Knitting

There is another new online knitting magazine.
This one looks good, it's called Knotions, and it is carrying some patterns from the now-defunct MagKnits (which I won't link to because there are no working links anymore).
Jennifer (aka Major Knitter) will be happy to know that the patterns in this magazine are free, and there are some very nice patterns there. Perhaps she could submit one of hers for publication. Have you ever thought about it?
The Olympics start today and I wondered if anyone had signed up for the Ravelympics?
I haven't and I won't (and I don't think it is open anymore), not because I am a hater, but because I don't really have the time for it.
I made the mistake, or took the opportunity however you want to spin it, to sign up to teach Sunday School for the year. Knowing the preparations required for that along with working full time in a very demanding office, and taking a class on Wednesday nights, I really need to get my act together and get organized. Only 3 more weeks or so until class starts. Yikes.
What is cool is that my high school Latin teacher, who had taught the class for years but is now taking a break, is now my backup in case I need to take a Sunday off.
I love torch passing exercises.

Monday, August 04, 2008

One is Back, One is Away

SN2 made it to soccer camp without incident.
He's at Houghton College which has an extremely pretty campus, but is located in the Allegheny mountains (actually the Allegheny plateau) so I don't know if I would want to climb some of those hills (thanks to the glaciers) on campus in the winter.
Truly in the middle of farm country in the middle of nowhere, but it is a pretty nowhere.
I did some knitting on the way down to Houghton yesterday. It was one of those trips where a 60 mile drive takes 90 minutes because you're driving through small towns. I ended up driving home so I could only knit on the way down but I actually made some progress on my Homespun cape:

This is a project I have had on hold for a couple of years. When I have the yarn on hand I don't have the pattern, or I'm always missing something. Yesterday the stars aligned and I had everything I needed.
With the weather being so chilly I need something around my shoulders in the morning.
You can ask the same question we all do, "This is summer?!?!"
Speaking of summer, DN1 came back from Poland on Saturday night.
Fortunately her Lufthansa flights were not cancelled from the strike, but her JetBlue flight was cancelled because of the weather. Instead of getting home in the afternoon she didn't make it here until 10:00 pm.
Of course she had plenty of luggage, but she did manage to find room for some goodies and here's what I got:

I said, "This is the pattern you have."
She replied, "Yeah, I know."
Well okay, as long as we know.
She bought herself a Kafka mug in Prague.
By the way, have you heard the latest about Kafka?
Naughty boy...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

New Magazines

Has anyone seen this yet?
If you haven't, be prepared to be overwhelmed.
We're off to take SN2 to soccer camp.
Have to find something to knit on the way - it's a 90 minute trip one way.

Friday, August 01, 2008

UK Kerfuffle

I saw this article on Gawker about a celebrity knitter from the UK, Rachel Matthews, who has created knitted doll patterns featuring Hitler (Knitler), Idi Amin, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein.
As always a topic about reviled leaders and the idea that someone is glamorizing their existence polarizes the public. The dolls, Knitler especially, have caused the Anti-Defamation League to become quite upset.
Others view the kerfuffle and think nothing of it, saying a doll won't hurt anyone, people do.
I agree that knitters usually, but not always, are kind, caring people, as this writer talks about, but can the creation of these dolls be deemed anti-Semitic? If we condemn her for that it seems comparable with the Sudanese government for putting the British teacher in jail and charging her with blasphemy because she named a classroom teddy bear Mohamed.
Or how about the death threats received by the European cartoonist because he created an image less than flattering to Islam?
None of these dictators are worthwhile human beings, but do we condemn the designer because she has created a knitted image of a man whose ideas were contemptible?
You may not like what someone is saying, but you should defend their right to say it, even if many find the idea abhorrent.
Plus, the cynical part of me wonders why everyone is fussing over the white, European doll, but no one has raised issues about the Arab, the Cambodian, or the African dolls. Is it because we expect it of them?

P.S. Besides you could probably use them as voodoo dolls - make that Ninth Circle of Hell that much more uncomfortable for Adolf and friends....I'm just saying....